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Does my current bike fit?

Fitting Your Bike Are you confused about how you should fit a bike to your particular body dimensions? Have you been reading, found the terms Merxx or French Fit, and don’t know what you need? Every style of riding is different- in how you fit the bike to you, and the sizing of the bike itself. It’s more than just measuring your height, reach and inseam. With the help of Bike Fitting, you’ll be able to find the right fit for your frame size, style of riding, and your particular dimensions. Here ya’ go…..the location for everything fit related.

Does my current bike fit?

Old 05-30-19, 03:03 AM
  #1  
j.postema
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Does my current bike fit?

Hi all,

about one and a half year ago I bought a secondhand vintage Raleigh steel racing bike and I converted it to a touring bike. I put a new stem on it to get the bars at a higher position as the original lower bar position put a lot of strain on my wrists and hands.

Oftentimes I ride my bike in windy conditions so I use the lowest part of my drop bars. This results in lower back pain. That's why I'm wondering if my bike fit is bad. I made a few pictures of me sitting on my bike. I also measured my bike frame dimensions and compared them to an online bike fitting website. It seems my stem length is too short. But when looking at myself at the photo I get the impression that my bike is still a little small compared to my body dimensions.

By the way - I mostly use this bike for day trips up to 400 km. (120 km average for a single trip)

I'm curious about your opinion about my current bike fit. Unfortunately I discovered that I'm unable to post photos or links to photos as my forum post count is less than 10.
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Old 06-02-19, 07:34 AM
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Hi, these are some photos I made to show my body fit / position on my bike. I'm curious if you can tell something about the current bike fit? According to pedalforce.com my stem length is too short. (rider compartment measurement is 66,5 cm, recommended rider compartment measurement is 70,65 cm). Seat height is 6mm lower than recommended.

Measured frame dimensions:

seat tube length: 63,5 cm
saddle height: 80,5 cm
rider compartment: 66,5 cm
wheelbase: 104 cm
saddle height over bar: 0 cm








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Old 06-02-19, 07:54 AM
  #3  
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My opinion comes without scientific reference or bike fit training. That said: Your bike is set up the way i might ride it, and I'm 182 cm tall. For that classic geometry I think you need to go up two sizes and stretch out quite a bit further, get full rotated.

Offered with a grain of salt, consider the source.
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Old 06-02-19, 09:17 AM
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Ummmm 400 km day trips... Avg 120 km. On bike that doesn't fit, and with a spare tire? You're too good for me, mate.
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Old 06-02-19, 01:28 PM
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Hi, thanks for your replies. It seems that until now readers would think my bike is too small. This is also my own impression. But what exactly would make my bike too small? As I can put the saddle at the correct height. And I could replace the handlebar to a more extending one to get the correct saddle - handlebar length?
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Old 06-02-19, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by j.postema View Post
Hi, thanks for your replies. It seems that until now readers would think my bike is too small. This is also my own impression. But what exactly would make my bike too small? As I can put the saddle at the correct height. And I could replace the handlebar to a more extending one to get the correct saddle - handlebar length?

I would first try modern handlebars that allow you to move the brake hoods higher up and that give you more positions for your hands on the bars. Maybe also try a longer stem and/or a setback seat post. The bike fits calculator shows your inseam as 90cm, is that your cycling inseam or your pants inseam? I think you can make it fit, but it might be worthwhile to get a professional bike fit.
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Old 06-03-19, 06:12 AM
  #7  
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I would say the bike is not far off your size. This is based on the view of you with a flat back. Were the bike too small in a significant way, you would look squeezed and have a rounded back. If your bike is in fact a bit small, pro tour riders use a bike, reportedly, a bit on the small side and can find comfort on long rides. I would try rotating the bars up to lengthen the reach a bit and since this does not cost anything, I would try it. Also worth trying is to move the saddle back slightly, maybe a centimeter.

You are doing long rides where if any part of fit is even slightly off, small discomforts will be magnified so tweak your bike fit in tiny increments as you search for better comfort. I mark up my bike with either a felt tip marker or whiteout pen to make changes while out on a ride. If the change turns out not to be an improvement, It is simple to get back to the earlier position. Over time, bike fit and comfort gets good.
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Old 06-04-19, 03:07 AM
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Hi, thanks for your replies.

@GailT: I was already thinking about different handlebars. Would a randonneur type handlebars be an improvement to the current handlebars? Like the Nitto B135 Randonneur handlebars? Does the different shape allow for higher positioning of the brake hoods compared to my current handlebars?

@berber: Last weekend I rotated the bars a bit upward and I think it is a slight improvement in comfort. According to the online bikefit calculator I should use a longer stem (more extension) so I will replace the current one in future.
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Old 06-05-19, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by j.postema View Post
Hi, thanks for your replies.

@GailT: I was already thinking about different handlebars. Would a randonneur type handlebars be an improvement to the current handlebars? Like the Nitto B135 Randonneur handlebars? Does the different shape allow for higher positioning of the brake hoods compared to my current handlebars?
I have not used the B135 but I expect it would work fine. Another option is the Nitto Noodle 177 which is available in 48 cm width.
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Old 06-05-19, 11:52 AM
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1) Set your saddle height using the heel-on-pedal method. (google) That'll get you within 1/2 cm of perfect for you. Fine tune so that the pull-back at the bottom feels powerful and natural. Measure your pedal axle center to saddle distance.

2) Set saddle fore-and-aft position so that your hands are light on the bars, that is you can briefly lift both hands off the hoods while pedaling, without sliding forward on the saddle. Then reset saddle height. If your saddle winds up with the clamp way forward on the rails, you'll need a post with more set-back.

3) Yeah, your reach is much too short. The angle between your upper arms and straight torso should be 90° with hands on the hoods. Get someone with a carpenter's square to help you figure out how much further forward your hands should be. If that's going to mean a stem length over 120mm, bike's too small, period. Find a larger bike. If not too small . . .

4) Order a threaded to threadless headset adapter. Then you can use the wide variety of inexpensive 1-1/8" stems.

5) You might consider going to a modern compact bar. That'd give you a wider range of available stems, as most bars are now 31.8mm in the center. FSA Omega Compact is a good example.

6) Order a stem that you think should be about the correct length and angle - maybe $15 on Amazon - to fit whatever bars you want. Install all that and reassess. You'll have to re-cable.
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Old 06-10-19, 02:42 PM
  #11  
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Hi, thanks for your replies and sharing your insights. When looking at the first picture, the angle between arms and body isn't much smaller than 90 degrees, so that should look ok? At the same time, the elbows look "locked" if I'm correct: the arms look rather stretched out? If I put the handlebars further to the front by using a longer stem, would my arms still have this stretched out position? I find this confusing as a locked elbow position is not ok?

At the second picture, where the hands are positioned in the lowest position on the bars, the angle between body and arms is clearly less than the adviced 85 - 90 degrees. Again - arms look straigh, elbows locked.

To conclude: would a longer stem and moving the handlebars to the front result in better posture / bike fit? I find it confusing as one can read that overreach causes lower back problems just like short reach?

Lower back pain
Often caused by hyper-extension as a result of overreaching, and can be alleviated by performing hamstring and core exercises (see box ‘Boost your body’) to strengthen and add flexibility.
source: https://www.cyclingweekly.com/videos/bike-fit-and-maintenance/handlebar-reach-how-to-get-it-right-video#BmhQw4gQLR63GMOw.99

Last edited by j.postema; 06-11-19 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 06-11-19, 11:10 AM
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I have always set up my drop bars with a priority to using the tops , thar level , not the bottom..

Big guy you may want a wider bsr as well .. shoulder width..







....
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Old 06-11-19, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by j.postema View Post
Hi, thanks for your replies and sharing your insights. When looking at the first picture, the angle between arms and body isn't much smaller than 90 degrees, so that should look ok? At the same time, the elbows look "locked" if I'm correct: the arms look rather stretched out? If I put the handlebars further to the front by using a longer stem, would my arms still have this stretched out position? I find this confusing as a locked elbow position is not ok?

At the second picture, where the hands are positioned in the lowest position on the bars, the angle between body and arms is clearly less than the adviced 85 - 90 degrees. Again - arms look straigh, elbows locked.

To conclude: would a longer stem and moving the handlebars to the front result in better posture / bike fit? I find it confusing as one can read that overreach causes lower back problems just like short reach?


source: https://www.cyclingweekly.com/videos/bike-fit-and-maintenance/handlebar-reach-how-to-get-it-right-video#BmhQw4gQLR63GMOw.99
Just do what your link says, look like the photos in that link. Do what you have to do to the bike to get there, or get a bigger bike if that doesn't work. Bikes are very much less expensive than doctors and poor health. My bike is the best doctor I ever had.

So there are two ways one can be a cyclist rather than a person on a bicycle. The first is to be young. The second is to be youthful. Since the first is not possible for me, I choose the second. That's just being fit. Nothing to it really, just being consistent with the physical stuff.

Here are the stretches I've been doing for the past decade or so: https://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycl...l#post15372967

This past year I've started doing McKenzie exercises, which are very, very helpful: https://www.spineone.com/blog/mckenz...hod-back-pain/

Besides becoming more flexible, becoming stronger is good, too. Strength work a couple times a week is synergistic with cycling. https://www.bikeforums.net/training-...e-athlete.html

Of course there are alternatives to being fit, which is the reason one hears those who don't want to get fit talking about raising the bars and shortening the reach. The analogy would be that cycling makes your legs sore, so better not to do that.
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Old 06-14-19, 05:23 PM
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Hi all,

thanks for your replies and links. I already started doiing some stretching and core strengthening exercises. Last week I cycled next to a building that had lots of windows so I saw myself biking and was able to see my posture / fit when biking. The angle between arms (upper part) and body was less than 90 degrees while my hands were on the brakehoods. I was able to get a 90 degree angle by curling my back - by bending it.

I'm considering to buy a Nitto Technomic stem as this will fit my classic bike. If I get a 120mm stem the handlebars will move about 40mm to the front and 10mm down.
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Old 06-18-19, 12:58 PM
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@Carbonfiberboy: I started doiing daily hamstrings stretching exercises. I checked your links and integrated a few of the mentioned exercises in my daily stretching routine. At the moment I stretch 2 times a day. I could be wrong as I started only a few days ago - but it seems that in the moring when coming out of bed there is less (almost none) lower back pain any more. Last ride it felt better as well after the ride. I will keep stretching the coming weeks to see if things get better. Currently I'm learing why muscles get shorter at all (adaptive shortening) - I do sitting work and a lot of bicycling...

I got my new 120mm stem today, so if calculated correctly this will move my handlebars 36mm forwards.
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Old 06-19-19, 07:22 AM
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Hi, I would like to upgrade my current hantlebars as they seem to be a bit narrow for my shoulder width: my shoulder width is 45 cm whereas the handlebars are 39 cm wide (center to center tubes). I want to buy a Nitto B135AA randonneuring handlebar, but I'm not sure what size to select: 45 or 48cm? I would think 48cm would be ok as the bars flare, so one needs to subtract about 6 cms to get the width between the brakehoods. Maybe it would result in a bit too wide fit in the lowest position. Any ideas / suggestions?
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